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GEA Ireland invests in AutoCAD P&ID.

GEA Ireland has invested in AutoCAD P&ID to enhance its design capability and provide a more flexible service for its food, dairy, brewery, pharmaceutical and personal care customers.

The process design team at the company's office in Naas, Co Kildare, has upgraded to this latest incarnation of the trusted AutoCAD design software.

The new software includes a dedicated tool for Process & Instrumentation Design (P&ID) that allows designs to be completed more quickly and provides a much better flow of information about each design within the organisation.

The team had been AutoCAD users for some time but wanted to improve its P&ID capabilities.

Design team leader JP Brady admitted that he had some reservations about changing the software so was pleased that it was another AutoCAD product that proved to be most appropriate for the company's needs.

"We were already heavy AutoCAD users," he said. "Changing to another supplier and having to train everyone from scratch would not have been helpful to the business. Sticking with an AutoCAD-based product also gives us access to a huge recruitment pool."

Continuity was important so it was necessary for the switch over from AutoCAD to AutoCAD P&ID to be as seamless as possible. Early demonstrations indicated that there would be savings to be had in design time, but Brady was looking for more than that.

"A major consideration was what we would be able to do with the graphical legacy information created in previous versions of AutoCAD," he added.

"We had about 350 standard GEA Equipment blocks--or objects as they now are--relating to the components we use. Fortunately, importing them into AutoCAD P&ID and attaching relevant information to them was really simple. This highlighted another advantage too: we can change the graphical data slightly, but leave the attached information unchanged if we choose. That means we can create component profiles or tool palettes specific to individual clients. It saves a huge amount of redrawing time, for example when we're dealing with American clients who use different sizing conventions."

To minimise any productivity downturn Brady planned for his first three users to be trained one day per week, over three weeks. "Those guys are now trained, and are currently developing the GEA symbology. The other guys in the team have been given the product to delve into before training." He points out that it's from the smallest tasks that the big savings are made "Automatic line numbering, line breaks, tagging and nozzle numbering all save time. The page flow arrows are brilliant; we can have 20 or 30 P&IDs open and track through each one, really difficult in AutoCAD alone. And the data manager allows us to zoom in to one particular component in what could be a really busy P&ID. It may sound ridiculous, but being able to make subtle changes this quickly is invaluable to us."

There are other benefits as well as the time savings. "Process engineers are expensive," said Brady. "The fact that they will no longer have to manually produce valve lists, instrument or equipment lists, and they 'pop' out of the back of the system through the excel or database links, is a worthwhile cost saving. Secondly, the current process for updating even a couple of lines of text on a P&ID involves a process engineer, a draftsman and at least one cycle of checking between the two: it's longwinded. If we can give the process engineer access to the P&IDs through, say, a network front end, he can make those changes via a database immediately. It makes much more sense."

GEAPT controls the master P&ID documents on behalf of many of its client's processing and production facilities. Brady's idea is to slowly migrate these drawings across to AutoCAD P&ID, in consultation with the clients, over the next few years. Graphically the drawings will look almost identical to the current ones but the information is intelligently linked to the drawings.

"Just being able to give the client updated P&IDs, valve lists, maintenance documentation or reports faster than at present will improve the service levels we offer and open up more possibilities. Our maintenance engineers around the world can access current P&IDs on a laptop via the web or email rather than having to carry loads of paper drawings. We can review drawings online which helps us get them right first time."

Contact GEA Process Technologies on tel + 353 45 981370 or visit
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Comment:GEA Ireland invests in AutoCAD P&ID.(NEWS AND INSTALLATIONS)
Publication:Food Trade Review
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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